Back before Cabo San Lucas became CABO!!, it was a fishing village a lot like the town of Loreto is today. Popularity and growth have eaten away a lot of the Mexican charm one still finds in Loreto. Don’t just take my word for it; in 2011 the New York Times called Loreto one of its 41 places to see, primed to become a new Mexican luxury destination thanks to the recently opened Villa del Palmar.
Limited time denied me the chance to wander the streets as I wanted to, so I was unable to check out the colonial architecture, the handicraft stores and seafood eateries recommended by the Villa del Palmar staff.
I did to fit in a trip to Mission de Nuestro Senora de Loreto, one of the oldest Jesuit missions in Baja, dating as it does from 1752. No longer an active church, the mission houses documents that trace Loreto’s history. Next door, Museo de las Misiones, tells the story of the European conquests of Baja. The Mission of Loreto features a more Spanish Colonial style as compared to the baroque style of the San Javier Mission, but its interior features as its centerpiece the same sort of intricate gilt altar. Well worth the visit, especially for the statue of our Lady of Sorrows.
The Loreto seascape is dominated by the Islands of Loreto, five islands that make up the Loreto Bay National Park. This maritime preserve offers clear water and over 800 varieties of marine life where visitors can enjoy kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, and fishing as well as excursions to some of the islands. What you won’t find are the crowds that plague other resort towns.